On the morning of September 11, 2001, I awoke to hear a bulletin on the radio that a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers. My first thought was that a small commuter or general aviation plane had gone off course. Then Anne called to me, "Whitley, come look at the television."
I knew at once that a large aircraft had hit the building. Anne immediately went to the computer and began writing for Whitleysworld.com, keeping up both from CNN and from friends living in Manhattan, who gave us a moment-to-moment narrative.
Now, all these years later, Whitleysworld is Unknowncountry.com, and today we look back not to the controversies that still surround the 911 event, but to the lives that were lost on that day, and reflect on their suffering and the suffering of those they left behind.
A nation like the United States, so enormous, so extensively a part of life in virtually all the world, will always be a target for one reason or another. No amount of vigilance will prevent all attacks, and no amount of investigation will solve all the questions that they have raised and will raise.
It is so important to remember the human element, and open our hearts to those who are lost, and, above all, to extend our support to their families.
Today, Unknowncounty.com’s staff pauses in prayer for the dead of 911 and beyond in this long conflict, and those they have left behind.
Wilfred Owen’s poem "Anthem for Doomed Youth," written during World War 1, reminds us that we are also engaged in a world war, albeit of a very different kind. Still, the words resound with meaning:
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
— Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?